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India looks to being a major player in the stainless steel sector

India’s ambition to become a US$40 trillion economy by 2047, the year which marks 100 years of independence, will make it a major consumer of stainless steel into the future, the Bureau of International Recycling has been told.

The country’s ambitious plans and its predicted growth in stainless steel production and scrap demand were set out by Hitesh Agrawal, general manager at Jindal Stainless, when he addressed BIR’s stainless steel and special alloys committee in Abu Dhabi.

India is currently the second largest global consumer of stainless steel and its consumption is set to grow, Current per capita consumption of stainless steel 2.8kg is expected to reach 8.5-11.5kg by 2047.

‘Stainless steel demand is expected to grow at the rate of 6.5-7.5% until 2025 and then approximately 7-8% from 2025 to 2030. Demand, which currently is approximately 3.7-3.9 million tonnes, is expected to go up to 4.6-4.8 million tonnes by 2025, and then by 2030 this is expected to be around 6.6-6.8 million.’

Agrawal explained that stainless steel in India is largely scrap-based as it is produced in electric arc furnaces or induction furnaces. He thought a major issue would be the availability of scrap, particularly where other countries do not want to export domestically generated scrap.

‘That will definitely continue to remain a challenge until India becomes self-sustainable on availability of scrap.’ Stainless steel was described by Agrawal as a ‘wonder alloy’.

Its attributes were echoed by a second speaker at the convention, Gerhard Pariser, group sales executive & head of corporate development at Oryx Stainless which has operations in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Thailand and under construction in Malaysia.

‘Scrap is the commodity and the product that puts the “green” into steel,’ Pariser insisted. ‘There is no ‘green steel’ and no ‘green stainless steel’ without scrap.’ Use of scrap in steel production in the western world is around 70% today, he added, while most major European producers now have recycled content of over 90%.

Recent lifecycle assessment conducted by the German Fraunhofer Institute found that making grade 304 steel with 100% primary material generated 7.82 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of stainless, whereas with 70% scrap it drops to 3.62 tonnes and only 0.8 tonnes with 100% scrap.

Stainless recycling was the ‘poster boy for circularity’ according to Pariser, who maintained scrap was a sought-after product needed in a circular economy and for the carbon reduction journey.

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